Editor's note

The reasons people make bad choices about what they eat are highly complex. Diets are affected by culture, tradition, and nutritional knowledge, among other things. Economic factors like income and the cost of food are also important – especially for poorer people with tight budgets. Derek Headey and Harold Alderman explore how financial and other monetary constraints keep poorer countries stuck with unhealthy food choices. 

An unusual way to measure co-operation between two countries is to look at how much research they do together as well as how many patents they issue. That’s because scholarly publications are the base measure of research output and patents represent the applied aspect of scientific research. Swapan Kumar Patra and Mammo Muchie examine the data around collaboration between China and various African countries – and find that Asia's economic powerhouse is steadily growing its relationship with African researchers. 

Also today:

Natasha Joseph

Assistant Editor: News and Research and Science & Technology Editor

Top Story

It’s not that people in poorer countries want to eat unhealthily - but cost is a huge factor. Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock.com/Editorial use only

Why living in a poor country means you have bad food choices

Derek Headey, CGIAR System Organization; Harold Alderman, CGIAR System Organization

The fact that relative food prices differ so markedly and so systematically provides a very strong rationale for nutrition-focused food policies.

Business + Economy

What patents and publications reveal about China-Africa science collaboration

Swapan Kumar Patra, Tshwane University of Technology; Mammo Muchie, Tshwane University of Technology

We wanted to investigate how the People's Republic of China and countries in Africa work together in science and technology.

Africa’s Mukula trees score a victory as trade is put under closer scrutiny

Paolo Omar Cerutti, Centre for International Forestry Research; Nils Bourland, Centre for International Forestry Research

CITES' decision seeks to increase levels of monitoring so that we can be more and better informed about the illegal trade of Mukula and over-harvesting.

Politics + Society

Tanzania wants Burundian refugees sent home. But they face big challenges

Amelia Kuch, University of Edinburgh

Incidents of violence and growing fear and uncertainty have pushed over 400 000 Burundians to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

South African taxpayers will bear the brunt of National Health Insurance

Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp, Stellenbosch University

The South African government is going ahead with the National Health Insurance scheme but has yet to detail how it is to be funded. What seems certain is that taxpayers will foot the bill.

En français

Ebola au Congo-RDC : quand un conflit oublié devient un danger pour la santé internationale

Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka, Université catholique de Louvain

Dans l'est du Congo, soumis à une violence débridée depuis des décennies, les populations se méfient de l'afflux soudain de l'aide internationale.

Ces virus exotiques qui nous menacent

Yannick Simonin, Université de Montpellier

Plusieurs virus sévissant sur d’autres continents ont été identifiés en France métropolitaine. Leurs vecteurs ont en effet pris leurs aises, profitant des changements environnementaux récents.

From our international editions

Amazon fires: Jair Bolsonaro faces mounting political backlash in Brazil – even from his allies

Anthony Pereira, King's College London

What the Amazon fires mean for Jair Bolsonaro politically.

Ben Stokes: England cricketer’s triumph over adversity is a classic hero’s tale

Keith D. Parry, University of Winchester; Emma Kavanagh, Bournemouth University

Ben Stokes has gone from villain to national hero. His story provides hope for us all.

Boris Johnson suspends parliament: what does it mean for Brexit and why are MPs so angry?

Amelia Hadfield, University of Surrey

MPs are calling it an attack on democracy, the government insists it's no big deal. Who is right in the battle for Brexit?

MPs are threatening to barricade themselves in if Boris Johnson prorogues parliament – here’s why they should be taken seriously

Martyn Bennett, Nottingham Trent University

Parliaments have been prorogued before – and revolution has ensued.


Would you like to republish any of these articles?

It’s free to republish, here are the guidelines. Contact us on africa-republish@theconversation.com in case you need assistance.